If California Legalizes Marijuana, It Would Be a $6 Billion Industry, Report Says
TIME - By. Justin Worland - 08/25/16
The question is on the ballot in November
Legalizing recreational marijuana in California could create a $6.46-billion market for legal use of the drug by 2020, according to a new report.
The projection, from the Arcview Market Research, comes in advance of a November vote on legalization in the state. Legal marijuana sales would be expected to hit $1.6 in the first year of legalization.
The move would make the state the “epicenter” of marijuana in the U.S., John Kagia of the analytics firm New Frontier told the Orange County Register. Both Colorado and Washington have legalized recreational marijuana sales, but California sales would dwarf those in other states.
Polling suggests that a small majority of Californians support legalization. A similar measure failed in the state in 2010.
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Billionaire technology and music industry disruptor Sean Parker upended another sector this afternoon, with the release of a new initiative to legalize marijuana in California in 2016.
Parker’s proposal — called the Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act — calls for ending cannabis prohibition in California, and allowing folks to possess up to one ounce of bud and grow up to six plants. Cities would have wide latitude on cannabis commerce, but couldn’t ban small, secure personal indoor gardens.
Billionaire philanthropist Sean Parker shakes up marijuana legalization in California (By Kendrick Brinson for SF Chronicle)
The proposal upends the 2016 playing field for California reformers. Parker’s wealth is the first substantial amount of funds to be moved into play in the 2016 race. Drug Policy Alliance and Marijuana Policy Project are reportedly backing the Parker proposal. That leaves other camps far out of the running for lack of funds — including the post-Prop 19 coalition ReformCA, as well as group behind the MCLR.
The full measure also received enthusiastic support from respected social-justice and industry organizations.
“This initiative provides a model for the country,” stated Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “It breaks new ground not just with its pragmatic regulatory provisions but also in directing tax revenue to prevention and treatment for young people, environmental protections and job creation in underserved communities.”
“California voters are ready to end marijuana prohibition in 2016 and replace it with a more sensible system,” stated Rob Kampia, Executive Director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “That is exactly what this initiative will do, and that is why MPP is proud to support it. We look forward to working with the proponents and doing whatever we can to help pass this measure and make history in California next year.”
About a half-dozen groups have filed ballot language, which costs $200 and signifies little.Millions of dollars must be spent to gather several hundred thousand valid signatures by a state deadline, then run a potentially polarizing campaign against a united conservative right, and a fractured, bickering far left. About 53 percent of Californians support legalization in theory. The details could drag those numbers down.
Over in Ohio, another set of profit-minded liberals are set to forfeit their legalization funds this week. Ohio’s Issue 3 to legalize pot is polling at 46-46, and has been dragged down by similar forces as could emerge in California.
California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, who chaired a Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy, of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, supported the measure, which was filed today by official proponents, Dr. Donald O. Lyman, MD, and Michael Sutton — a doctor and an environmentalist:
“I am pleased that this thoughtful measure is aligned with the Blue Ribbon Commission’s recommendations, and presents California its best opportunity to improve the status quo by making marijuana difficult for kids to access. It is backed by the broadest coalition of supporters to date and I believe that Californians will rally behind this consensus measure, which also serves to strengthen law enforcement, respect local preferences, protect public health and public safety, and restore the environment.”
Official filer Sutton is a longtime conservationist and environmental attorney, and former President of the California Fish and Game Commission, and former Vice President of the National Audubon Society.
“The physician community and the people of California in general have increasingly voiced support for ending marijuana prohibition and bringing greater control, oversight and consumer protections to our marijuana policies,” stated Dr. Lyman, author of the California Medical Association’s 2011 Background Paper on Marijuana. “This is the most comprehensive and carefully-crafted measure ever introduced to control, regulate and tax responsible adult-use of marijuana anywhere in America – and it will make California healthier, make our streets and communities safer and better protect our children.”
“A regulated and reliable framework of marijuana policy will bring illicit cultivation out of the shadows and allow us to protect and restore California’s precious land, water and wildlife,” stated Sutton, who also founded the Marine Stewardship Council while at World Wildlife Fund. “It’s good for the environment, good for our water supply and good for natural resources.”
Paul Warshaw, CEO of GreenRush, a patient-centered cannabis delivery platform celebrated the news.
“California is home to dozens of world-class industries, now including a cannabis sector that is growing exponentially more professional, varied, and profitable. The state’s cannabis industry is certainly complimented by it’s other leading technology and investment sectors – we’re seeing leaders like Sean Parker and others stepping forward to advocate for rational cannabis regulation and reform.”
The California Cannabis Industry Association also supports the Parker proposal.
“CCIA is pleased to join a diverse group of stakeholders in support of this initiative, which will bring sensible adult-use laws and regulations to California’s cannabis industry,” said CCIA president Sean Luse, in a statement. “This initiative represents the collective voice of California’s lawful medical cannabis industry.”
The Adult Use of Marijuana Act will lay atop California’s new statewide medical cannabis regulations, while streamlining some of them, stated CCIA general counsel Khurshid Khoja. “No legislation is perfect, but we believe the initiative will benefit patients, taxpayers and the legal marijuana industry.”
California is positioning itself as a national and global leader in legal cannabis, after decades of it as a major part of the underground economy.
“Our hope is this initiative will pave the way for California to take
its rightful place as the center of the cannabis economy,” stated CCIA executive director Nate Bradley. “California has long been the leader in technology, the environment and entertainment. This initiative lays the foundation for marijuana to become California’s next great industry — with all the jobs, tax revenue and economic growth that come with a productive new industry.”
A number of groups have signed onto the initiative with letters of support, including: The Nature Conservancy, Audubon California, California Council of Land Trusts, California Native Plant Society, California State Parks Foundation, California Trout, California Urban Stream Partnership, Defenders of Wildlife, Endangered Habitats League, Pacific Forest Trust, Trout Unlimited and Trust for Public Land.
“The environmental provisions of the Adult Use Act will represent a major step forward in protecting California’s rich natural resources in the future,” stated the Nature Conservancy in an October 29, 2015 letter.
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Broke states praying pot tax will lift them out of financial ruin
Politicians are quick to jump on the "legalize marijuana" bandwagon when they see tax-dollar signs flashing. Suddenly, politicos from Colorado to California are angling to spin dime bags into tax dollars to heal their broken economies. Colorado lawmakers estimate that a weed tax could add as much as a $100 million to their coffers, while California pro-pot campaigners reckon they'd see $1.2 billion. But Harvard economics prof and pro-legalization pundit Jeffrey Miron says, "This is not a cash cow that can solve anyone's fiscal problems," proffering the sad notion that these figures are probably overblown and more likely to bring in $2.1 billion total in state taxes nationwide. Which (and correct us if we're wrong) still sounds like significant cheddar.
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Hugh MacIntyre: The economic argument for legalized marijuana
The Liberal Party over the weekend voted to “legalize and regulate” the selling of marijuana. This issue has the potential to breathe life back into the Liberals if they approach it the right way. As it stands now the party’s best chance of regaining at least second place is by putting the marijuana issue front and centre.
More than one pundit has scoffed at the decision to include legalization in its policy document. Even interim leader Bob Rae made a joke of it during his keynote speech. But it’s not a joke and the party is missing the boat on what could be a game changer.
For me the issue of marijuana is one of liberty versus state overreach. It is an unjust law that attempts to control the choices and the lives of individuals. Smoking pot does not harm others, only the smoker, and the smoker has the right to decide what sort of harm he or she enjoys.
For Liberals the issue could be about money and the economy.
It would be a huge boon for government revenue, without even needing to add a “sin tax” to the legal sales of marijuana. All the unreported income and potential sales tax from Canada’s most profitable cash crop would suddenly be available. It would represent a new source of revenue without having to raise taxes by even a dime.
On the spending side, billions of dollars would be saved by ending the illicit marijuana trade. Some of the money would likely go to whatever regulatory framework the government created, but it would have to be a monstrous bureaucracy indeed to equal the massive sum that now goes towards investigating, prosecuting, and jailing someone in the marijuana trade. The Liberals could claim credit for closing the deficit faster than the Conservatives, and might even have money left over for one of their foolish pet projects.
With the deficit eliminated with relative ease and debt being paid down, Canada would be in a unique fiscal position for a G8 and G20 country. We can expect that confidence in Canada would soar even higher and investment would flood in as investors flee the crumbling economies of Europe.
The best part is that Canadians by and large already agree that marijuana should be legalized. They also think the economy should be the priority. It would not be difficult to connect the two issues and convince Canadians to vote for a party that has the most painless plan to put Canada’s fiscal house back in order.
The resolution approved at the convention is non-binding. So there is no guarantee the issue will be in the 2015 Liberal election platform. In fact Canadian political parties have a history of ignoring policy resolutions from conventions, so the chances of this one being taken up are pretty low. Hopefully the party leadership will take a moment to closely examine legalization and realize the potential. It would not only be the best thing for the Liberals but for Canada as well.
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Retired Denver cop backs legal drugs
Nina Sparano kwgn.com
DENVER-- The full legalization of marijuana has been in the Colorado
spotlight for some time. Now former members of Colorado law enforcement are
stepping out in the public to turn heads and get the issue on the 2012
“We should be teaching our kids to make intelligent decisions and
stop wasting our time with this good drug bad drug crap,” says Leonard Freiling,
a former Lafayette Judge.
“We're against the entire war on drugs and
marijuana is the biggest part of that,” says Tony Ryan, a retired Denver Police
Both Freiling and Ryan are members of LEAP; Law Enforcement Against
Prohibition. They spent part of Wednesday afternoon collecting signatures in
front of the Denver City and County building, hoping to put the full
legalization of marijuana on the 2012 ballot.
“If you legalize it and
regulate it then you don't have the black market anymore it gets rid of all of
that violence everybody is worried about,” adds Tony Ryan. “Any step in the
right direction to ending prohibition so we can actually regulate and control
drugs as opposed to making it illegal because when it’s illegal you can do
nothing else accept arrest people and put them in jail.”
If approved, the
measure would make marijuana legal for adults over the age of 21.
biggest concern on legalizing marijuana is the impact it’s going to have on
kids,” says Don Quick, Adams County District Attorney. He says years of research
contradicts marijuana advocates.
“I think they're using their own
interests and anecdotal knowledge to say the legalization won't impact the
community in a bad way and the research is 180 degrees in the opposite
Quick also says legalizing drugs is not something Colorado
has a whole will likely support.
“There is a statewide proclamation where
hundreds of officers and prosecutors are signing their opposition. The fact that
three [former law enforcement members] think pot should be legalized, I don't
think is going to have a big impact.”
The marijuana advocates need to
collect 86,000 valid signatures by January 6th to be on the 2012
ballot. So far they have collected about 10,000 before their deadline on January
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Pot, marriage could play roles in '12 Colo. races
Make your own choices, and mind your own damn business. -UA
KRISTEN WYATT, Associated Press Sunday, July 24
DENVER (AP) — Colorado's position as a key battleground state in the 2012 presidential race comes with a wrinkle neither party seems to like: A freewheeling ballot initiative tradition that could put both legalizing marijuana and gay marriage before voters on Election Day next year.
Marijuana activists have begun gathering signatures to ask voters to allow pot for recreational use, a direct challenge to federal drug law. And gay-marriage advocates were cleared last week to start petitioning for a repeal of a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage approved just five years ago.
Proponents of both measures still must get enough signatures before the questions go to ballots. But Colorado's lowest-in-the-nation proportional signature threshold, now at about 86,000, combined with the fact there are no statewide races aside from the presidential contest next year, mean hot-button social questions could complicate the plans of both parties.
"Both of these are going to gain some national attention given the nature of the issues," said Robert Hazan, a political scientist at Metropolitan State College of Denver. "Colorado has both a growing progressive and a growing conservative organization, so it will be a battleground not just presidentially. We'll see ideological forces clashing."
Democrats and Republicans aren't publicly talking about what Colorado's ballot proposals mean for next year's race. State GOP Chairman Ryan Call didn't respond to a question about the matter, and Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio didn't mention either marijuana or marriage in a written statement.
"Democrats have several high priorities. Adding high-profile ballot initiatives to that mix will be very tough to do, no matter the issue," he wrote.
However, both Call and Palacio have repeatedly said Colorado is a must-win for President Barack Obama.
In 2008, Colorado crowned one of Democrats' biggest achievements in more than a decade — cracking the GOP's lock on the interior West.
Democrats chose Denver for their national convention and went on to carry Colorado for the first time since 1992. Democrats also picked up Nevada and New Mexico. Obama's largest political rally before winning office took place in Denver, and he chose Denver to backdrop his first big move in office — signing the massive economic stimulus law in early 2009.
Both parties say Colorado is a consummate purple state whose political importance is belied by its small size. Already, left- and right-leaning advocacy groups have bought television ads supporting or attacking Obama.
While Obama and his Republican challenger are certain to fight mightily for Colorado, what's less clear is whether marijuana and gay marriage on the ballot could distract voters. Colorado has a history of eyebrow-raising ballot measures, with unclear results for either party.
In 2000, Colorado voters both approved medical marijuana and elected Republican President George W. Bush. Six years later, Colorado gave Democrats a new majority in the state Legislature — and also banned same-sex marriage and rejected a pot legalization measure. Last year, Colorado soundly rejected a proposal to outlaw abortion but returned Republicans to a majority in both the U.S. and state House delegations.
One of the sponsors of this year's pot measure is Mason Tvert, who also organized the unsuccessful 2006 legalization question. He said marijuana certainly brings young people to the polls, but he argued it's impossible to say how new voters drawn by the pot question affect other races.
"They can be Libertarians or Greens or everything in between," Tvert said. "I don't think you can say it helps or hurts either side."
A sponsor of the gay-marriage amendment was even more cautious about how his measure could affect a tight presidential contest. Gay-marriage ballot questions were credited for boosting conservative turnout in the 2000s, but Mark Olmstead said a repeal measure may not bring the same heat next year.
"Presidential races bring a lot of attention, and there's really nothing else that can beat that," Olmstead said.
California's unsuccessful marijuana-legalization question last year offers few clues. Even without being upstaged by a presidential race, California's 2010 measure didn't appear to win any races for either Republicans or Democrats, said Corey Cook, a political scientist at the University of San Francisco.
"There was talk originally that (the pot question) would be good for Democrats because it would drive young people to the polls, but there was no evidence it really affected the outcome of any races," Cook said.
Another California analyst, political scientist John Pitney at Claremont McKenna College, predicted that a potential pot question next year in Colorado would hardly distract voters from a knock-down presidential fight. But he wasn't ready to give the Colorado pot question no chance.
"A failure in California doesn't necessarily foretell failure in Colorado," he said.
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Group In Missouri Looks To Legalize Marijuana
It sounds nice, but the conservative mid-west will probably shoot this down. What about an inititive that supports farmers and hemp production? This legalization horse we keep kicking isn't getting up anytime soon......-UA
Joe | Jul 09, 2011 Joe Klare
A group in Missouri called“Show-Me Cannabis” has turned in two initiatives to the Secretary of State’s office, both designed to legalize cannabis for medical and recreational purposes. Both initiatives would regulate marijuana like alcohol, allow farmers to grow hemp and allow for some home growing.
The main difference is that one of the initiatives would amend the Missouri Constitution; that one needs over 160,000 signatures over the next ten months, while the “regular” ballot measure only needs about 100,000 signatures.
Repealing the criminal laws governing marijuana would make Missouri safer, said Amber Langston, campaign director for Show-Me Cannabis. “Frankly, we would like our society to be safer, and having this market in the hands of criminals doesn’t make anybody safer,” she said.
Langston was campaign manager for the successful 2004 city ordinance that called for marijuana possession cases to go to municipal rather than state court and eliminated jail sentences for violations.
After the Secretary of State approves of the ballot language and writes a summary, advocates will have until May 6th of next year to gather the necessary signatures. No decision has been made on which initiative will be circulated, but practicalities almost dictate that it has to be the one that needs less signatures.
An interesting quote came from Mike Fusselman, a Randolph County prosecutor and former head of The Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, on this issue. “I think it is awfully difficult to take marijuana and place it in the same position as alcohol,” he said.
And why is that? Because it’s much safer than alcohol? Because the alcohol companies contribute so much money to political campaigns? Because so many people die from alcohol and no one dies from cannabis?
What a ludicrous statement. I wonder if these people think before they speak. What kind of message is this lawyer sending to children? The message that you should avoid marijuana at all costs, but drinking is very cool in the eyes of the law, so bottom’s up.
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